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6 Scouts from Clarendon earn their Eagle

Photos by Tom Rivers: These six Boy Scouts are pictured with Scoutmaster Jak Kohmann at a Court of Honor celebration on Wednesday evening at the Disciples United Methodist Church in Clarendon. Pictured from left include: Xander Apicella, Matt DeSimone, Dalton Thurley, Jak Kohmann, William Harrington, Jake DeSimone and Ben Downey.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 August 2018 at 8:07 am

32 have now earned Scouting’s top rank from Troop 59 in past 16 years

Ron Boyd, a mentor and volunteer in Troop 59, puts the Eagle kerchief on Xander Apicella. Jake Thurley, not in photo, put the kerchief on his brother Dalton Thurley, right.

CLARENDON – Six Boy Scouts from Troop 59 in Clarendon are the latest to earn their Eagle rank, bringing the number of Eagle Scouts to 32 in the past 16 years from the troop.

Xander Apicella, Matt DeSimone, Dalton Thurley, William Harrington, Jake DeSimone and Ben Downey held their Court of Honor celebration on Wednesday at the Disciples United Methodist Church, where the troop meets every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Scoutmaster Jak Kohmann praised the scouts for their dedication. They pushed themselves to earn merit badges and complete projects in the community.

“They do the work,” Kohmann told the group gathered at the church for the Court of Honor. “They have a true commitment. Without that dedication these six wouldn’t be up here today.”

Eagle Scouts need to earn at least 21 merit badges, but many of the scouts in Clarendon go well beyond that. They have completed projects at Hillside Cemetery, the Clarendon Historical Society, Clarendon Fire Hall and the town park. The projects need to take at least 100 hours, but Kohmann said the Clarendon Scouts put in at least 150, with some taking 400 hours to complete.

“They turn into young men and they get jobs,” Kohmann said about the Eagle Scouts. “We stay in touch and I see these people out in the community and they are pillars of the community.”

Jak Kohmann speaks during the Court of Honor on Wednesday evening. He said the Eagle Scouts are self motivated. Behind him include Ben Downey, Matt DeSimone and Jake DeSimone.

The six new Eagles all presented Kohmann with a mentor pin during the Court of Honor. They also recognized John Crandall, the assistant scoutmaster, and others who have supported their Scouting journey.

Xander Apicella began as a Webelos in the fifth grade. He created a firemen’s memorial at the Clarendon Volunteer Fire Company for his Eagle Scout project. He is entering his junior year at University of California at Santa Barbara, where he is majoring in physics and minoring in writing.

Jake DeSimone started as a Tiger in the first grade. For his Eagle project, he constructed and landscaped a flower bed at the Clarendon Fire Hall. He is pursuing a business degree at Monroe Community College.

Matthew DeSimone, Jake’s younger brother, also started scouts in the first grade as a Tiger. He renovated the park pavilion in Clarendon for his Eagle project. He is pursuing a degree in business/pre-law at Geneseo State College.

Ben Downey started scouts in the second grade as a Wolf. For his Eagle project, he installed a fence at the memorial at Hillside Cemetery. He is currently doing commercial and electrical work for Edwards Electric and Communications in Rochester.

These new Eagle Scouts recite the Scout Oath. They include Will Harrington, Xander Apicella and Dalton Thurley.

William Harrington started as a Tiger Scout in the first grade. He constructed a display wall with lighting in the Clarendon Historical Society for his Eagle project. He is majoring in biology, chemistry and music in a pre-vet program at Elmira College.

Dalton Thurley joined scouts in the first grade as a Tiger. He cleaned and repaired the veterans’ section of Hillside Cemetery for his Eagle project. He will be studying mechanical electrical engineering technology at Alfred State beginning this fall.

Kohmann has served as Scoutmaster for 16 years, including several years after his son aged out of the program. Derek Kohmann, now 27, was the third of the 32 scouts to earn his Eagle under Kohmann.

Kohmann worked 30 years at Kodak and then another eight years at the Holley Pharmacy until he retired in April. He found scouting to be a needed break from the stresses of his job.

“This was a nice release from that,” he said. “I have a good time here.”

The Clarendon troop also has many engaged parents and several active volunteers. Kohmann does the paperwork after the scouts earn their badges and ranks.

He intends to stay active in the troop “as long as the kids keep coming.”

Will Harrington hugs Melissa Ierlan after presenting her with a mentor pin. Irelan helped many of the Eagle Scouts identify their projects in the community.

John Crandall, the assistant Scoutmaster the past nine years, says the many Eagle Scouts in the troop show others that the coveted rank is attainable.

“Once they see their peers get an Eagle, it inspires them,” Crandall said.

His son Jacob, 20, earned his Eagle. Another son, Jeremy, needs three more merit badges and has to complete his project to become an Eagle. Jeremy, 17, expects to become an Eagle next year.

Crandall also praised Melissa Ierlan for connecting many of the Eagle Scouts to their projects. Ierlan is president of the Historical Society and the town’s code enforcement officer.

“She helps with the logistics,” Crandall said. “She has tons of contacts.”

Ultimately, Crandall said Kohmann sets the tone in the troop, and keeps the scouts engaged.

“Jak is very regimented and available for the boys,” Crandall said. “You won’t find someone more dedicated to Boy Scouts. He makes it attainable to the boys.”

Kohmann said the troop welcomes more scouts. They can stop by the Disciples United Methodist Church on a Thursday evening for more information.

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